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Commuters who drive despise bad behaviour and traffic, while transit users are dissatisfied with overcrowding and wait times.

Vancouver, BC – While most British Columbians who commute on weekdays are satisfied with their experience, three-in-four would like to work from home more often, a new Insights West poll conducted for BC Business has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbian adults, 63% of residents consider their weekday commute as “pleasant”, while 29% deem it “annoying.”


The way British Columbians feel about their commute is directly related to their mode of transportation. Those who walk and bike to school or work have the highest levels of satisfaction (96% and 95% respectively call it “pleasant”), but the numbers are lower among those who drive (62%) or take public transit (60%).

When asked what makes their commute “annoying”, drivers point primarily to dealing with bad behaviour on the road (62%) and traffic (58%), while transit users are upset with overcrowding inside vehicles (71%) and wait times (64%).

In contrast, the main issue that makes commuting “pleasant” for drivers is having control of entertainment in their vehicle (63%), while half of transit users (50%) see benefits in getting things done while they commute, such as reading the newspaper or answering e-mails.

“We learned earlier this year that British Columbians are not particularly pleased with drivers, and bad behaviour is the main issue that irks those who drive to school or work on weekdays,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The silver lining is that they get to listen to the programs or music they want when they are in their vehicles.”

One-in-four British Columbians (25%) say their weekday commute is worse now than it was five years ago, including 30% of Metro Vancouver residents, 27% of men and 28% of commuters aged 35-to-54. In fact, three-in-four British Columbians (75%) say they would work from home more often if they could to avoid commuting.

Commuting would have an effect on the job prospects of many British Columbians, with 78% saying that living close to their workplace is important to them, and two thirds (65%) saying they would choose a prospective employer primarily based on where their office is located.

In addition, 54% say they would seriously consider moving from their current home if they changed jobs and had a longer commute, and two-in-five (42%) would be willing to make less money if they can get a job that is closer to their home.

The appetite for tolls as a way to reduce commute times is not particularly high. While one third of British Columbians (34%) would be willing to pay to access roads or bridges if it guaranteed a shorter commute time, the proportion increases to 49% among those who commute from home to work in municipalities that are not next to each other.

A third of residents (34%) say their ideal commute would involve driving, while 23% would prefer to take public transit and a further 23% would rather walk to work.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 4 to March 10, 2016, among 802 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Roland Tanglao